Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Blue Pen

This has been a pretty good week.  The kids are complaining about the rules, but they are following them.  They are in their seats when the bell rings, which I thought could never happen.  Most of all, they love the raffle tickets, which they get for being on time, participating or any other type of good thing they do that deserves positive reinforcement.

Because we are on an odd/even day schedule, they have class every other Friday.  On Fridays, I draw from the coffee can that has all the raffle tickets for a "big prize".  Yesterday was prize day--I had three classes, so I got out 3 brown paper lunch bags and filled each one with a full size candy bar and a bag of chips.  Then I decided to throw a pen in each one, since no one ever seems to have anything to write with.  My husband had just been to a conference.  He always brings back a bag of swag, usually a bunch of pens.  When I looked in the bag, I saw 3 light up pens.  I thought they were fun, so I threw one in each bag.

Yesterday, I hyped Raffle Day from the moment kids started walking in class.  "Do you know what today is?.....IT'S RAFFLE DAY!!!!!!!!!!!" I would say loudly in a sing-song voice.  I had it written on the board, I  mentioned it constantly and would annoy  my students by calling on them at random and saying "What's today?"  "raffle day." they would answer with deliberate boredness.  However, once I showed the prizes, that attitude quickly changed. They "oooooohed" at the candy bar; they "ahhhhhed" at the chips.  But when I held up the pen, they went nuts!  "I WANT THAT PEN!!" they yelled.  It was anarchy over a dumb light up pen.  I've never seen anything like it!

I deliberately waited til the end of class for the drawing, in part to avoid someone eating in class, but also to hold it over their heads.  I told my infamous 7th period that I would not have a drawing if they didn't do their work.  They did their work.  They wanted that pen!  Finally the drawing came and the person whose name I drew was a very quiet Hispanic kid.  He had not said word one about wanting that pen and I was secretly a little disappointed that someone else's name hadn't been drawn.  Funny thing though--he claimed his prize, sat down and another student yelled "Joaquin!  Give me that blue pen!  You don't want it!" and he said, quietly, but with intensity, "No.  It's mine!"  He wanted that pen!

As he walked out I said, "Joaquin, you didn't give Annie the blue pen, did you?"  He looked at me with complete seriousness and said "No, its right here!" and patted his backpack where he had put it for safe keeping.

I hope no one jumped him in the parking lot.

1 comment:

  1. Nice story, sounds like this is one idea that's really paying off. I might steal it.